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Visitors to the news portion of Vice.com – part of an international media brand that concentrates on arts, culture and other news – on Friday evening may have been surprised by a headline that read, “Syrian Electronic Army Was Here.”
The post – which had ‘SEA' on the byline – was simply a brief (below).
A pair of tweets sent by President Barack Obama's Twitter account re-directed users to to pro-Bashar al-Assad YouTube videos Monday afternoon.
One tweet about immigration reform was supposed to send followers to an article from The Washington Post. Instead, it linked to a video montage of terror attacks, starting with the attacks on 9/11. In a statement to CNNMoney, the hacktivist group known as the Syrian Electronic Army took responsibility for the hack, claiming to have broken into the president's ShortSwitch account -- a link-shortening service.
Malicious emails, craftily disguised as breaking news from CNN that the U.S. is bombing Syria, are making the rounds online, researchers warn.
According to Roel Schouwenberg, a senior anti-virus researcher at security firm Kaspersky, who blogged about the phishing campaign last Friday, the emails actually contain shortened links leading to an exploit kit that targets vulnerable Adobe Reader and Java software.
More often, however, phishers prefer to use the “more reliable” Java exploits, he wrote.
Once more, the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a pro-Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad organization, has struck on the internet.
This time, SEA hit The New York Times (NYT), Twitter, and other popular sites. Unlike previous attacks that relied on phishing attacks to gain password information from the target site's authorized users, SEA is using the weak security of the internet's master address book, the Domain Name System (DNS), to re-route internet traffic from its real destination to SEA-controlled sites.
The websites of the New York Times, the Huffington Post and Twitter were hacked by a group known as the Syrian Electronic Army which posted messages supporting the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"Our website was unavailable to users in the United States for a period of time yesterday. The outage was the result of an external attack on our domain name registrar, and we are at work on fully restoring service," The NYT said in a message posted on its website.